The Oban Blog

Top 5 SEO & Social Media Horror Stories: Part 2

With Halloween almost upon us I thought I’d give a round-up of some of the online marketing world’s scariest horror stories from the past year. Forget about ‘Paranormal Activity II’, ‘Contagion’ or any other scary films out this year, the following examples of how not to run a successful SEO or Social media campaign will make you shudder to your core…

Google Panda
Google Panda refers to the changes introduced in 2011 to the search algorithm used by Google to improve search results. The change aimed to lower the rank of “low-quality sites” in search results and return high-quality sites to Google’s users. CNET reported a surge in the rankings of news websites and social networking sites, and a drop in rankings for thousands of sites, reportedly affecting the rankings of almost 12 percent of all search results.

The Panda rollout hasn’t been the smoothest with many websites (including Google’s webmaster forums) being inundated with complaints of scrapers / copyright infringers getting better ranking than original content. At one point, Google publicly asked for data points to help detect scrapers better.

Google’s Panda has received several updates since the original rollout in February 2011, going global in April 2011 and we are sitting at version 2.5. To help affected publishers, Google had also published an advisory on its blog thus giving some direction for self evaluation of a websites quality.




Next’s Online Modelling Contest
In July 2001 the news emerged that 24-year-old Roland Bunce had seen off competition from 5,000 other hopefuls to bag first place in fashion giant Next’s online modelling contest’s initial round with an impressive 66,000 votes – mainly the result of campaigns on Twitter and Facebook.

At one point, computer science graduate Roland was the most talked about person on social news website Reddit, where tens of thousands of readers vowed to vote for him.

He would have gone before a judging panel in the final round along with 249 other winners, but just days after winning the qualifying round his Facebook page read the following:

“Just to let you all know I am quitting the Next Model contest. It was a big honour to win and it’s been fun but the amount of abuse I’ve been getting since Thursday is out of control and I’ve now just been threatened.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me but I am now bowing out before this gets any worse.”

Had he won the overall contest, Roland would have bagged £2,000 Next vouchers, a photo shoot and an introduction to Storm, Kate Moss’s modelling agency.

His fans expressed their dismay at the Facebook message, with replies ranging from praise for his self-confidence in the face of competition from more ‘conventional’ beauties, to pleas for him to get back in the contest and win it for the ‘normal people’ of the world.


Roland Bunce